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The way a brand walks, talks, dresses, acts and behaves are all characteristics described in the brand personality. Is your brand playful, whimsical, and funny? Or is your brand serious, refined, cultured and sophisticated? Your brand personality should always be evident in your menu design.
Menu Design: What is Your Brand Personality?
Once you have accurately and fully articulated the brand in your overall brand platform and defined its personality, decisions and ideation around items such as menu design and production have a comparison point to evaluate against. The way you “dress” your brand should be a reflection of its personality.
For instance, the brand personality of Señor Frogs is funny and fantastical. The environment is loud and carnival-like.So, for their menus we created a special water-filled menu that the iconic frog floated in, included a whistle on each menu. The whistle was to “call your waiter” … um, if you’re familiar with Señor Frogs, you understand this is part of the charm. We then also developed bar menus in the shape of lily pads.
Commissioned by T.G.I. Friday’s to develop new bar menu concepts, we presented ideas ranging pop-up menus with interactive tabs and dials, an audio menu that sung certain items, and a menu requiring 3-D glasses. I think in the end, all of the concepts were shot down, but did influence a national ad campaign.
Ultimately though, the point is to think creatively and come up with innovative new menu approaches that are tethered by the brand platform (not tethered by internal politics or what the competition is doing). In the entertainment industry, the more distinctive and appealing a personality the more likely they are to be noticed and become a celebrity. Add talent and that creates a career with staying power. The same is true for the restaurant industry – communicate a distinctive and unique personality to standout, back it up with talent, and then you can leave competing on price to the other guys. Charismatic brands with personality don’t have to compete on price.